Christmas can now start

The turkey is in the fridge, the presents are under the tree, the heavily discounted champers and wine are in place. So I guess this must mean I’m prepared. All I have to do tomorrow is find cloves (and I’m going to be stunned if the food shops of the Cowley Road fail me), and meet my wife in the pub around 1ish.

It should be a nice chilled Christmas Day, just the two of us for nice pressies and lots of good food. We’ve already treated ourselves to our main present, a nice big HD telly, and I’ve already been making the most of this for Rock Band 2 playing, and World Championship darts viewing. I suspect the Boxing Day tradition of 4 Hills Ski-Jumping is going to look lovely on it too.

The proverbial quiet weekend

So this week is intended to be quiet. Our main aims are to decide on a hotel for our NYC trip (we’ve made a shortlist of five, and will be inviting all the hotels to compete in a Pop Idol style showdown for our affections. Well either that or going with the one we really like because we can get a room there). After that, well, I’ve never done a proper tour round a University since I came here, so we are going to have a walk into town, and stop off in the grounds of one of them for a good wander round, obviously taking the opportunity to wind Mrsfb up by stopping and taking photographs every 15 seconds. And then I’m cooking some sushi and an as-yet-unchosen fish dish, possibly involving scallops.

There may well be a bike ride on Sunday too if it stays at all reasonable (I am definitely a fair-weather cyclist). I do need to start getting out on some little treks on the bike to get back into it. Oh and finally I may brave the garden for a little tidy up (i.e. start the massive amound of tidying there is to do).

Sushi Master

Well not quite, but my sushi the other night was, if I do say so myself, bloody fantastic. When I tried it not long after preparation, it wasn’t all that. It tasted too seaweedy, which is not a taste you want in particular. I didn’t realise what it really needed was fridge time. The next evening we had some as a starter, and it tasted great, and bar my clumsy presentation looked like they should. So I’ve bought more stuff for sushi last night, including a bamboo mat (which I did have, but I think I cut it up to use for something else, some project or idea I really can’t remember). With bamboo mat I may yet attain perfection!

Also starting to plan seriously for upgrading my computer at home. It is coming on for four years old now, has done sterling service, but is getting slow. I am not getting rid of it, but it can be a fileserver now, whilst I build a new computer. Decided to build my own from scratch again, I hopefully have a case coming from a friend that looks promising, have settled on an Intel Duo Core processor at the centre of the machine, which then helps you focus on which other elements you want to add in. I think graphics card is the toughest choice now, as I really don’t know how much I am willing to spend on that. You can easily spend the cost of a new Xbox 360 just on a graphics card should you chose, but I think I’d rather get something up to date but mid-range. I also this time need to take account of wanting to run Linux as my operating system of choice, I have been using Ubuntu for about 3 months now on all my machines, and I can’t see me going back to Windows now. Just so much cleaner and easier.

Of sushi and suchlike

Have been making sushi for the first time tonight. Harder than it seems, should be just rice and rolling in my book, but there seemed to be several little stages in the instructions I had, and it was quite the faff. Still, I’ve got my first two long rolls cut, so after a couple of test portions I’ve got lunch for tomorrow, and a starter for dinner tomorrow. They seem to come out bigger than I’m used to, but I don’t have a bamboo mat to roll with, so I don’t think I was prepared to risk getting them tighter without splitting. Will report back soon with how they tasted having been chilled. Also discovered the joys of wasabi peanuts tonight. They are hot. Damn hot.

I’ve also bought some new trainers for cycling, sort of a combination of trainer and hiking boot. Possibly the most comfy shoes I’ve had in a while, will post a photo of them soon, would highly recommend them.

Driven by sleep

still not right on the sleeping front. Did sleep okay yesterday, but it still threw into sharp relief how much I haven’t been for a while. Going to have to be careful and make sure that where I can, I get to catch up.

Got a couple of nice little things for myself yesterday, a Moleskine notebook, which is just the right size for everything for me, and The Silver Spoon, which is a classic Italian cookbook, and just brimming with recipes. So much so I could barely carry it home.

Bit of a catch up

Well it has been a while since I’ve written about myself, what with being away in London learning Java for a week, and posting lots of news stories instead. I’m about caught up now, so I hopefully will try and settle into a pattern with a little more balance. BTW, be aware that the comments on the news stories for the moment link to the actual story, rather than to my comments section. Should hopefully get chance to fix that soon.

I’m a bit full tonight, having cooked Nigel Slater’s perfect coq au vin. It is a great recipe, and with a few shortcuts I made it relatively quickly. I also cooked the full version (justabout) over New Year, and it is marvellous.

Being the New Year now, I have to put some of my resolutions into action. So this weekend I’m giving up smoking, and I’m also going to try and watch my weight a bit, so that it doesn’t add any more, particularly as I’d like to lose a little too. So I may make mention of what (if any) I lose. I am going to keep track of it, so I get an idea of what I’m doing that is right or wrong.

We’ve also decided on our holiday for this year, we’re off to New York in October hopefully! I’m bricking it about the flight, but seeing as I managed a couple of hours each way to France last year, I think I can about cope with it as long as I keep me head stuck in a book all the way. Will be well worth it once we get there though, can’t wait.

This has also partly been the motivation to get a new camera, a proper digital SLR. I’m hoping to buy it in the next month, and start taking some high-quality pics to put on flickr and for my own general amusement. And to occupy me whilst I am giving up smoking. Hope I can pull that off.